From my very first blog after reading Escape From Camp 14, I've supported ALL projects that call American's attention to North Korea's humanitarian crisis. The death camps. The sickening, nation-wide brainwashing. The rapes, forced abortions. Torture far worse than post 9/11 waterboarding. And all happening now, in a volatile, nuclear-armed country that will collapse - and will intentionally take out many other countries with it. That's why I've anticipated The Interview so much. I had hoped that Franco/Rogen's fan base would become our country's hip DPRK critics, calling for UN action with the fervor of MTV's "Rock the Vote." But in order for that to happen, The Interview needed to use its stars more maturely than in previous films. It needed to grow up. It needed to show intelligence. But that didn't happen. And by the time Rogen shoved a missile-tip up his ass, it was clear that it wasn't going to even come close.
That being said, I'm not going to be Roger Ebert here and analyze point-by-point where and why the movie failed. But I will offer some bullet points on the things that bugged me:
- Franco's character was such a douchebag, when he needed to be serious, nothing he said was believable.
- Just like A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Interview had waaaaaay too many shit, dick, and sex jokes. Not only did this cheapen the subject matter, it came across as bad writing - which distracted the viewer from the story. The whole script needed a better editing job.
- Pyongyang - the regime's showplace capitol - wasn't effectively shown. The city's chilling Orwellian appearance - Soviet architecture, impersonal boulevards, paranoid citizens - shows how North Korea's angry/militarized culture remains trapped 60 years in the past...and has become a danger to the present.
- Speaking of the military, only a "hint" of the country's massive army was shown. The DPRK has a "military first" culture...and by not exploring that fact, The Interview's jokes about starvation & empty grocery stores completely missed the mark.
- North Korea's power never went out...which was probably the single most unrealistic thing about the movie.
Park presented the dictator in a way that managed to survive all the lowbrow humor - portraying Kim Jong-Un as just another guy...or, anything BUT a God. Seeing Kim Jong-Un "gushing" over Franco was hysterical. Watching his boobs bounce while playing basketball made a strong statement about his country's hunger. And witnessing Kim drive an antique tank (like a child playing a game at Chuck E. Cheese) effectively showed him to be out of touch - both in his own country and the modern world. Sure, humanizing such an evil man might be seen as a mistake, but THAT'S the image North Koreans need to see to counter his personal propaganda: Kim, the man-child. Kim, the overfed. Kim, the tyrant. Kim, the cartoon figure. And most importantly, Kim the ridiculous figurehead of a ridiculous dynasty. Forget Seoul balloons that parody Kim as a pig. What North Koreans really need to see is Kim behind the scenes, indecisive at times, and surrounded by corruption.
To my knowledge, The Interview is the first film ever to call North Korea out on it's government's silliness...and it's ass-backwards way of fighting the encroaching modern world. God-inspired kings who killed their people at will started becoming extinct over two centuries ago, and the Kim dictatorship is the last surviving genuinely "evil" country on this planet. With the exception of tiny pockets like North Korea, almost every country in the world is "catching up" to each other. New energies, technologies, and interconnected computer systems are all working together to equalize our standards of living - and that includes improving human rights and personal freedom for all.
This all ties in with my thoughts on Earth eventually joining a larger "galactic community," and how it's only just a matter of time before our planet becomes united - and real space exploration can begin. But humanity won't get to that point until we irradiate a few bumps of our planet's skin cancer - and I think that as long as the Kims are in power, North Korea is a tumor that's about to metastasize. And if The Interview helps call the world's attention to a very touch decision that must be made, well, I guess stranger things have happened. Just like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, sometimes a lousy movie can carry a message for years to come -